Friday, December 28, 2012

Cranberry Mostarda

This is one of the first recipes I ever pinned on Pinterest. The original recipe called for cherries but pitting cherries is just so much work so I never got around to making the recipe.

Then when looking for ideas for our Christmas gift baskets, I had the bright idea to make it with cranberries instead!

The result is a savoury, rich cranberry sauce that would be fantastic over pork or duck. It would probably also be pretty yummy over melted brie.

Adapted from Family Style Food, makes approximately 3 cups


1 pound cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard


Combine the cranberries, sugar, vinegar, wine and spices in a large saucepan. Simmer over low heat for approximately one hour until thickened.

Stir in the mustard and remove from the heat.

To can, ladle into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Gently tap to remove bubbles, wipe the rim clean and place the lid on the jar. Tighten just until finger tip tight. Process in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars without tilting and allow to cool upright for 24 hours. Any jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

If you don't want to jar, the sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Candy Cane Marshmallows

A colourful treat I made for our Christmas gift baskets. I dusted mine with red sugar for an extra festive effect.

These are heavenly in hot cocoa.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes 48 1" marshmallows


2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
4 packages gelatin
3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 egg whites
Red or pink food colouring
Icing sugar, for dusting


Coat an 8" square pan with oil or cooking spray. Dust the pan with icing sugar.

Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Stop stirring and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to heat over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 260 F on a candy thermometer.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the second 3/4 cup of water. Stir in the extract. Gently, whisk the gelatin into the hot sugar mixture.

With the stand mixer running on low speed, slowly add the sugar mixture to the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and whisk until the mixture thickens, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Add drops of food colouring, if desired. Swirl with a toothpick to create a marble effect. Allow the marshmallows to cool at room temperature for at least three hours.

Gentle remove from the pan and cut into 1" squares. Dust lightly with icing sugar.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Recipe Rewind: Sugar Cookies with Egg Nog Frosting

Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, makes three dozen cookies


6 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
6 tablespoons eggnog
1 teaspoon nutmeg


In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream. Beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough will be very sticky.
Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into rectangles. Wrap each rectangle with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

Dust the dough and counter top with flour. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a large round cookie cutter cut the dough into circles and transfer the circles to the baking sheet.

Bake for 7 minutes or until starting to turn golden.

To make the frosting,
cream together the butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add in the eggnog 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Add the nutmeg and beat to combine.

Frost the cookies using a knife or spatula. Refrigerate overnight to allow the frosting to set and the flavours to develop.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Paleo Dairy-Free Eggnog

David loves eggnog. It took me several trips to the grocery store to make the eggnog ice cream because the eggnog kept disappearing before I could get it into the ice cream.

Unfortunately store bought eggnog contains a long list of undesirable ingredients including modified milk ingredients, processed sugars and preservatives - a long cry from the traditional recipe of milk, eggs, spices and rum!

Needless to say I was quite happy to find a paleo eggnog recipe on Pinterest. It is not quite as creamy as traditional milk-based eggnog but still delicious.

Adapted from Allergy Free Alaska, makes 1 litre 


4 cups almond milk
3 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of your choice, optional
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, or more to taste, freshly grated if possible
3/4 cup rum, optional


Slice the vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise. Scrap out the seeds. Add both the pod and seeds to a medium saucepan. Add the the almond milk, cloves and cinnamon. Over low heat, slowly bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep.

In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and honey. Whisk until light and fluffy.

Slowly add the hot milk to the eggs, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan. Add the nutmeg. Heat over low temperature, stirring constantly for two minutes until heated through.

Chill overnight before serving. Add rum immediately before serving if desired.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eggnog Ice Cream

I got nominated to make dessert for Christmas dinner on both sides of the family this year. We celebrated with Dave's family this past weekend and I made sticky toffee pudding with eggnog ice cream.

The cake was an epic failure since it simply refused to bake. I cooked it almost 30 minutes longer than the 40 minute recommended time and it was still molten in the middle.

The ice cream, however, was fantastic.

Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from David Lebovitz Perfect Scoop, makes 1 litre


1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch salt
2 cups eggnog
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon brandy
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, salt and sugar. Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour the eggnog into a large bowl. Set a fine mesh sieve over top.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Pour some of the warm milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Transfer the yolks into the sauce pan and stir to combine with the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens to form a custard that will coat the back of a spatula. Stir constantly, making sure to scrap the bottom of the saucepan.

Add the custard to the eggnog, straining it through the sieve. Add the vanilla extract, rum, brandy and nutmeg. Stir to combine.

Refrigerate until chilled thoroughly or overnight.

Transfer the custard to the ice cream maker. Freeze mixture according to ice cream maker instructions.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Nothing says Christmas like the smell of gingerbread!

Adapted from Taste of Home, makes 16 large cookies


3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus additional for dusting
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 salt


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses, beat until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in extra sugar if desired.  Place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart, press to flatten slightly.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Adapted from Primal Palate, makes approximately 2 cups


1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup red onion
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Add the mustard, pepper, salt, onion and vinegar to a blender or food processor. Blend at high speed until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil until fully emulsified.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chai Cupcakes

For anyone who loves chai, cinnamon, pumpkin spice... these cupcakes are heavenly!

I was seriously skeptical when I noticed that the cake recipe was vegan but I must admit it is actually one of the tastier cakes I have ever made. I did replace the soy milk with whole milk since we do not consume soy products but I am guessing the end product would be similarly yummy!

Adapted from The Culinary Enthusiast and Love and Olive Oil, makes 36 mini cupcakes or 12 regular


1 cup soy milk or whole milk
4 black tea bags
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan or microwave until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes before removing the teabags.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Pour in the milk mixture, as well as the oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix until combined and any large lumps have disappeared.

Fill cupcake liners to 2/3 full and bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until just starting to turn golden. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the butter cream, using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the butter until it is creamy. Mix in the vanilla and spices. Beat in the powdered sugar half a cup at a time. Whip until fluffy. If the butter cream is too thick add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Using a closed star tip, pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with extra cinnamon if desired.


Monday, December 3, 2012

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